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​Communication Tactics

When a person has a hearing loss, even if the loss is very mild, their brain no longer receives all the hearing information they need to understand speech properly. Very soon, the brain starts to develop strategies that involve using other forms of information such as lip-reading, facial expression and the context of a sentence.

By adding this extra information to what it has heard, hearing impaired people have a better chance of understanding what someone has said. These strategies are equally important to people who wear hearing aids and to people whose loss is not bad enough for them to need an aid yet.

Tips when you have a hearing loss:

• Be open, tell the person you’re speaking to that you have a hearing loss
• Ask people to get your attention before they start talking to you
• Get a better view: stand a reasonable distance from the person so you can see their face and lips. Gestures and facial expressions will help you understand what they’re saying
• If necessary, ask people to slow down and speak more clearly
• If you don’t catch what someone says, just ask them to say it again or in a different way
• Keep calm: if you get anxious you might find it harder to follow what is being said
• Play to your strengths: if your hearing is better in one ear, try turning that side towards the person speaking to you
• Learn to lip-read: everyone does it a bit, especially in noisy places
• Be kind to yourself! No-one hears correctly all the time

Tips when speaking to someone with a hearing loss:

• Always ask: even if someone is wearing a hearing aid, ask if they need to lip-read you
• Make sure you have the person’s attention before you start speaking
• Find a place to talk that has good lighting, away from noise and distractions
• Turn your face towards them so they can easily see your lip movements
• Speak clearly, not too slowly and use normal lip movements, facial expressions and gestures
• Make sure what your saying is being understood
• If someone does not understand what you’ve said, try saying it in a different way
• Keep your voice down: it’s uncomfortable for a hearing aid user if you shout and it looks aggressive
• Get to the point: use plain language and don’t waffle
• If you’re talking to one person with a hearing loss and one without, focus on both of them